Weeknote: 27 February to 3 March 2023

View from above, from top to bottom: an empty care park with bays marked out in paint, two leafless trees and bushes separate the car park from a pavement where a queue of people are waiting at a bus stop. The people have umbrellas or hoods up on their coats. The bus stop is painted in yellow on the road, the front half of a car is entering the frame from the left
View from office, Wellington Place, Leeds

Call to action

“If you were talking to a patient about how to access services, what would you say?” I joined a meeting with some very senior leaders, led by colleagues from the NHS England strategy team, who are doing a rapid piece of work to help us answer that question more clearly.

Service access goes much wider than digital, but if we’re clear about what we’re asking people to do regardless of channel, then we’ll be able to create more effective digital services. And staff, who can also find it confusing, will be better able to help patients too.

I made the point that trust is key: the trust of patients in the advice the NHS gives them, and trust between different parts of the service so each one adds to the patient’s care, and we don’t repeat questions or assessments unnecessarily.

In the office(s)

An organisation integration breakthrough: I got a building access pass which allows me to work regularly in Wellington Place, the office where many of our Product team colleagues are based. I’ve previously been spending time across town at Quarry House, and that remains my official base, but it makes more sense to go where more of my colleagues are. A day at Canary Wharf in London completed my five-day, three office tour.

One to ones

I spent quite a bit of this week in one to one conversations with colleagues in my team and elsewhere. A lot is going to happen in the next few months, and while we don’t control all of it, we do have opportunities to influence. I needed to hear from people directly what they really want from their work, not just the day-to-day, but their hopes and aspirations for themselves and the team.

Some of what I heard confirmed things we’d talked about before, but other things surprised me and made me think differently about how we work together. I hope we can make these open and honest conversations a regular thing. There are still people I haven’t had a chance to talk with, and I want to get those scheduled soon.


I got some feedback that an important meeting I wasn’t in was harder than it could have been. It sounded as if questions that could have been raised beforehand were not brought up until the start of the meeting, which then sent the whole thing off course and wasted some very busy people’s time.

When I listened to those who were there, it seemed as if two groups of people wanted the same thing but neither felt empowered to ask the other for it. This “storming and norming” phase is hard work, definitely complicated by the context of our organisation change, and I’m wondering what other leaders and I can do more of to support the team through it.

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